Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Estrix, May 19, 2010.

  1. Estrix

    Estrix Valued Member

    I recently came across some book with a supposed list of "global" martial arts and noticed this particular martial art I'd never heard of, "Baritsu." After some reading I discovered that it was the martial art that Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have learnt :p

    Anyway, apparently it died out at the start of the 1900's, but has enjoyed a recent revival. I wondered if anyone knew anything about it or could direct me to more information?
  2. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    It's spelt Bartitsu mate... its all over google and youtube.
  3. Estrix

    Estrix Valued Member

    Thanks man, brilliant link. Can't believe I didn't find it before
  4. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    no sweat :cool:
  5. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Bartitsu guys claim that "baritsu" is actually a reference to bartitsu. I'm curious about that, because Doyle describes it as a "Japanese system of wrestling," not a British eclectic martial art.
  6. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    mmmh weird, never heard that before!
  7. TheVigilante

    TheVigilante New Member

    In Barton-Wright's first articles in Pearson's Magazine (which Doyle also wrote for and almost certainly would have been reading) the only components of the art that were presented were from jiujitsu. So it's entirely possible Doyle just remembered those pictures of Barton-Wright and his Japanese demo partner and assumed that bartitsu basically equalled Japanese wrestling. If "baritsu" is actually a typo and not a deliberate change then he probably wasn't paying the cloest attention anyway.
  8. Estrix

    Estrix Valued Member

    Well reading: suggests that Bartitsu is a an amalgamation of Jujitsu, savate, Boxing (London Rules I believe) and some Swiss/Austria wrestling. I would bet that the Japanese wrestling mention was part of the original marketing of Bartitsu, as at the time there would have been no (or nearly no) Japanese in arts in Europe at the time.
  9. Devon

    Devon Valued Member

    This essay looks at the relationship between Bartitsu and jujitsu:

    "Japanese wrestling" was a novelty - it had been demonstrated a few times in London and Paris before 1898, but Barton-Wright's school was the first place where Europeans could actually study the art. It's obvious from most of Barton-Wright's own articles, from newspaper reports on his demonstrations and tournaments etc. that Bartitsu encompassed several different styles of jujitsu as well as boxing, the Vigny method of self defence with a walking stick and kicking.

    As TheVigilante said, it's likely that Doyle was only vaguely aware of Bartitsu and confused it with jujitsu when he had Holmes describe it as "Japanese wrestling" (and spelled the name wrong).
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member


    Us Bartitsu guys claim that 'Baritsu' is most likely a reference to Bartitsu.

    There is no firm understanding of why the T was dropped. It could be because Barton-Wright had actually trademarked the term "Bartitsu" and Doyle didn't want (or was forced by the legal dpt) to infringe unintentionally. It could be that it was an accident of memory on the part of Sir Doyle. It could also be that he was simply copying from another source; the Bartitsu Society has found a period article written about Bartitsu in which the author misspells it the same way as Doyle so it could be that Doyle was cribbing from this newspaper article.

    The most notable part about it for a Brit was the Jiu-Jitsu element. JJ was extremely exotic and noteworthy at the time. Barton-Wright essentially introduced JJ to the West. the la Canne element, though a novel variation (la Canne Vigny), was well known and accepted, being viewed similarly to the way we view Escrima today. After the failure of the Bartitsu club, Sensei's Tani and Uyenishi went on the Wrestling Circuit in beer halls &tc. The JJ vs Wrestling matches were hugely popular and generated a massive amount of "Home Team" sentiment for the native wrestling styles vs JJ. However, more often than not Tani/Uyenishi actually won the match (they were using JJ rules and gi's) so there was a feeling of the superiority of JJ. There was also a series of very public "debates" in writing pitting JJ and English Boxing. Various self defense advocates and instructors penned books and articles, opening schools as well, on JJ such as Longhurst's 1906 "Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defense"

    As has been mentioned, the first Pearson's articles written by Barton-Wright were centered on the JJ aspect. In fact the Tori was a Japanese man in a gi and hakama and Uke was B-W in a white obi and gi.

    While none of this is proof positive of what Sir Doyle was thinking (or not) at the time of writing, it's a whole lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting what was most likely.

    Finally, it should be noted that the concept of an eclectic martial art was somewhat new. Heck, the Western idea of a martial art was entirely different from what most of us today think. Most of the time if an Englishman needed self defense, he'd study one form, Boxing being popular. But la Canne was (as mentioned) an option. And, naturally, there was always the dependable revolver and bowie (at least according to Punch).

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  11. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    At the risk of suggesting another forum, the Bartisu Society does maintain an elist over at Yahoo Groups

    Also there are a few of us who hold regular Bartitsu classes. Not many, but if you are geographically close you would be welcome to join one.

    Peace favor your sword,
  12. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    Here is a copy of the [Bartitsu_Forum]'s FAQ:


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